So a few weeks ago TTCE wrote a guest piece for the excellent podcast/blog site UK True Crime, which goes from strength to strength and currently sits in the top 5 across all categories in the UK Podcast Charts. As has been detailed on the review that can be found here , the host is a genial chap called Adam. I asked Adam to tell me the genesis of his podcast, and he was decent enough to share a guest piece back for TTCE, so it’s over to him…..
Hello, I’m Adam and I host the weekly UK True Crime Podcast. The True Crime Enthusiast has produced some great content for me over the last few months so I was delighted to be asked to write a guest blog about producing a true crime podcast. I hope you find this article of some interest.
This time last year I had never listened to a podcast.
Then in October 2016 I started a new job which involved a lot of travel. One of my colleagues was into podcasts, showed me how they worked and straight away I loved them. I have always enjoyed reading about true crime and so naturally checked out crime podcasts which gave me a chance to listen to lots of the great true crime podcasts from around the world. The excellent ‘They Walk Among Us’ focussed on the UK but I wanted more. As I searched for a weekly podcast about lesser known UK cases I guessed other people wanted the same so the obvious step was to start my own show.
When I talked in more detail with friends about how it would sound, it became clear to me that I wanted the listener experience to be like a conversation with a good friend. Living in the UK, humour plays a big role in our daily lives and so I wanted to introduce some typical UK dry humour and sarcasm. This is what I have tried to create with my podcast.
This podcast production lark is fine in theory, but where do you start? Luckily, I stumbled upon some excellent US shows about podcasting which offer some fantastic free advice (if you are potentially interested in podcasting check out Daniel J.Lewis at www.theaudacitytopodcast.com and Dave Jackson at www.schoolofpodcasting.com). With a basic understanding of what to do I bought a cheap microphone, realised there was free editing software available, slowly built and hosted a basic website on WordPress and paid £10 a month or so for audio hosting. Then I was ready to conquer the world of podcasting, after all, just how difficult could it be?
This is where I should tell you that having released episode 31 of the podcast this week I am now a relaxed, podcasting expert with an easy manner and faultless delivery. Of course, as those of you who listen to the show know only too well nothing could be further from the truth. Every time I sit in front of the microphone it is like the first time as I feel nervous, worried that nobody will find the content interesting and wonder why I am putting myself through this. Half a bottle of absinthe, a couple of deep breaths and I press record….
Although I have a prepared script in front of me, now I am a little more confident about my audience I am happy to deviate from it a lot of the time. I add context with the music and news of the time, try to avoid sounding like a grumpy old man when I don’t know/like the music, talk about the Mighty Leeds United whenever possible and try to avoid giving my opinion, but often fail. Instead, I try to ask questions and add a bit humour wherever possible, despite the seriousness of the content. Based on some of the feedback there are plenty of people out there who would describe it as anything but humorous, well, not intentionally. But the beauty of being an independent podcaster is that I am not a paid professional so I can just be me and over time more of my personality has come through in the show. This is one of the reasons why poor reviews make me roll my eyes rather than feel peeved. Constructive advice is, of course, always welcome. But when I get the nasty, personal ones – and we all get them except for the really top shows such as ‘Casefile’ and ‘True Crime Garage’ which are beyond criticism, period – I can’t help wondering why people can’t just choose not to listen again and move on. Life is too short to be unpleasant, right? But then again, as listeners to true crime podcasts, we know there are some very strange people out there….
I almost always record cases new to me as I enjoy the discovery. My favourite cases are when they have been recommended to me by listeners, or researched expertly by The True Crime Enthusiast (check out the two great podcast episodes he has written so far: The Bogus Gasman and The Wedding Murders). The starting point for research is usually google where I tend to begin by picking a random year and searching words such as “trial”, “court case” or similar. I scroll through the results and if I see something of interest I will stick with it but usually I stumble upon another case which interests me more and I will go with that case instead. I try to avoid being just a murder show and include a wide variety of crimes because, as one listener said to me just this morning, financial crime can ruin lives too.
Researching lesser known crimes can be tough as there is less information and I have had to give up a few times as I just can’t provide the background needed to offer any real insight. However, this is rare and depending on the case there is almost always a whole selection of weird and wonderful sources of information from official court documents, newspaper reports, personal websites, sections of books, social media and a huge variety of blogs – some more speculative/gossipy with others being more factual. Researching is certainly the most fun part for me and I can lose myself for hours in the information. If I had unlimited time I would love to carry out more original research, but for an independent podcaster fitting this in around real life just isn’t practical at this time.
Two final points: Firstly, I love speaking with my listeners and always quickly reply to anyone who contacts me. After all, without such awesome, engaged listeners what is the point? Secondly, and most importantly, the nature of true crime means it is a sensitive subject and this can never be forgotten. At all times I try my best to show compassion for the victims, their friends and family and often the person committing the crimes and those close to them.
I would love to hear from you with any comments of my podcast or blog, which can be found at http://www.uktruecrime.com. You can contact me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or by email at: Adam@uktruecrime.com
Thanks very much Adam for that, and TTCE wishes you all continuing success.
The True Crime Enthusiast